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Panniculitis and lipoatrophy after subcutaneous injection of interferon β-1b in a patient with multiple sclerosis
  1. S S O’Sullivan1,
  2. E M Cronin1,
  3. B J Sweeney1,
  4. J F Bourke2,
  5. J Fitzgibbon3
  1. 1Department of Neurology, Cork University Hospital, Wilton, Cork, Ireland
  2. 2Department of Dermatology, South Infirmary/Victoria Hospital, Old Blackrock Road, Cork, Ireland
  3. 3Department of Histopathology, Mercy University Hospital, Grenville Place, Cork, Ireland
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr Sean S O’Sullivan
 Reta Lila Weston Institute, Institute of Neurology, UCL, 1 Wakefield Street, London WC1N 1PJ, UK; sosulliv{at}

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Recombinant interferon (IFN)β is currently the most commonly prescribed treatment for long-term immunomodulation in multiple sclerosis, and is generally a well-tolerated treatment. Reactions to IFNβ at the injection site are a common side effect, ranging from the frequently observed transient erythema to a more severe cutaneous necrosis in 5% of patients.1 We describe a patient presenting with panniculitis and subsequent lipoatrophy, secondary to IFNβ-1b treatment for multiple sclerosis. To our knowledge, this case is the first to show this syndrome in relation to IFNβ-1b injections.

A 37-year-old man with relapsing–remitting multiple sclerosis presented with a 5-day history of pain in the left thigh, diaphoresis and rigors. This had started 6 days after subcutaneously injecting IFNβ-1b (Betaferon, Schering, AG, Berlin, Germany), which he had been using for 27 months, at that site. He did not have arthralgia or myalgia. He had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 3 years earlier after an episode of transverse myelitis, and had had four relapses in the interim. Flu-like symptoms and mild reactions at the injection site had developed after initiation of IFNβ treatment, but had resolved spontaneously. He also had a diagnosis of migraine, for which he took sumatriptan and diclofenac. There was no history of drug allergies. He did not …

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  • Competing interests: None.

  • Consent was obtained for publication of the patient’s details described in this report and for publication of figure 2.